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CAMEL

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Camel biography
The roots of CAMEL go as far as 1964, when the Latimer brothers Andrew and Bryan form part of a band called THE PHANTOM FOUR, after gaining some fame, the band changes their name to STRANGE BREW, a when the bass player Graham Cooper reaches the band. But things were about to change, Ian Latimer and Cooper leave the band and Doug Ferguson joins.

At this point drummer Andrew Ward joins the crew and the seeds were growing in this new Blues oriented band called simply THE BREW, and at last in 1971 with the arrival of keyboardist Peter Bardens CAMEL is officially born.

In their first period CAMEL releases four albums, the self titled debut, which was received with limited enthusiasm by the public, which lead to the change of label from MCA (Who didn't wanted to take risks) to Decca, with whom they stayed for 10 years.

Followed by "Mirage", Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" (for many their essential trilogy), during the latest album tour, the saxophonist and flute player Mel Collins joins and leads CAMEL to a first radical change in the sound, as well as in the formation because Doug Ferguson is replaced by the Ex CARAVAN bass player Richard Sinclair.

With this formation CAMEL releases two albums, "Rain Dances and "Breathless", which marks for many the end of CAMEL'S golden era mainly because Pete Bardens leaves the band and the next release "I Can See Your House From Here" is considered inferior to the previous releases by the critic.

From this point the lineups constantly changes but the band still releases seven more albums received with different degrees of acceptance, until the last studio album "A Nod And a Wink" sees the light in 2002 (the same year Pete Bardens passes away) completing a large discography of 14 studio releases, 9 live albums, 7 DVD's and several box sets .

Maybe because their style is softer than most of the pioneer bands with atmospheric and light Space Rock overtones their fanbase is not as huge as the ones of the coetaneous and more aggressive bands such as GENESIS (Who in my opinion influenced CAMEL), YES or KING CRIMSON, but CAMEL is without doubt among the most respected groups, and the Latimer - Bardens duo is considered one of the most creative compositional teams.

If I had to choose one album from their prolific discography, my choice would be "Moonmadness" but others such as "Snow Goose" or "Mirage" are beloved by those who love good music.

An excellent band for people who l...
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Buy CAMEL Music


Camel- MirageCamel- Mirage
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 2002
Audio CD$4.08
$4.50 (used)
The Snow GooseThe Snow Goose
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$4.92
$3.58 (used)
The Snow GooseThe Snow Goose
Import
Camel Productions 2013
Audio CD$11.65
$11.64 (used)
CamelCamel
Import · Remastered
MSI:UNIVERSAL/UM3 2002
Audio CD$4.50
$5.31 (used)
MoonmadnessMoonmadness
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$4.61
$3.68 (used)
I Can See Your House From HereI Can See Your House From Here
Import
Universal I.S. 1990
Audio CD$3.83
$3.82 (used)
A Nod and a WinkA Nod and a Wink
Import
Camel Productions 2005
Audio CD$10.49
$9.23 (used)
Rain DancesRain Dances
Remastered · Extra tracks
Decca 2009
Audio CD$4.94
$9.18 (used)
BreathlessBreathless
Import · Remastered
Esoteric 2009
Audio CD$10.18
$22.62 (used)
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CAMEL
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CAMEL
~ USD $13.80
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CAMEL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CAMEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 1072 ratings
Camel
1973
4.39 | 2175 ratings
Mirage
1974
4.28 | 1899 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
4.38 | 1872 ratings
Moonmadness
1976
3.58 | 777 ratings
Rain Dances
1977
3.13 | 639 ratings
Breathless
1978
2.84 | 555 ratings
I Can See Your House From Here
1979
3.59 | 620 ratings
Nude
1981
2.58 | 407 ratings
The Single Factor
1982
3.38 | 578 ratings
Stationary Traveller
1984
3.65 | 427 ratings
Dust And Dreams
1991
3.73 | 504 ratings
Harbour Of Tears
1996
4.04 | 713 ratings
Rajaz
1999
3.94 | 586 ratings
A Nod And A Wink
2002
4.21 | 447 ratings
The Snow Goose (Re-recording)
2013

CAMEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.31 | 342 ratings
A Live Record
1978
3.30 | 138 ratings
Pressure Points
1984
3.64 | 99 ratings
Camel On The Road 1972
1992
4.44 | 140 ratings
Never Let Go
1993
2.38 | 58 ratings
Camel On The Road 1982
1994
3.30 | 54 ratings
Camel On The Road 1981
1997
4.27 | 116 ratings
Coming Of Age
1998
3.83 | 55 ratings
Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light
2000
3.55 | 64 ratings
The Paris Collection
2001

CAMEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.48 | 36 ratings
Pressure Points - Live in Concert
1984
4.52 | 98 ratings
Coming Of Age (DVD)
1998
2.92 | 23 ratings
Curriculum Vitae
2003
3.91 | 37 ratings
Footage
2004
3.82 | 28 ratings
Footage II
2005
4.03 | 37 ratings
Total Pressure (DVD)
2007
3.99 | 48 ratings
Moondances
2007
4.35 | 69 ratings
The Opening Farewell - Live At The Catalyst (DVD)
2010
4.08 | 24 ratings
In From The Cold
2014

CAMEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.52 | 9 ratings
Chameleon (Best Of Camel)
1981
3.28 | 16 ratings
The Collection
1985
3.74 | 27 ratings
A Compact Compilation
1985
2.40 | 7 ratings
Landscapes
1991
3.46 | 49 ratings
Echoes
1993
2.09 | 8 ratings
Camel (25th Anniversary Compilation)
1997
4.09 | 31 ratings
Lunar Sea - An Anthology 1973-1985
2001
4.01 | 31 ratings
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973 - 1985
2010

CAMEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.63 | 24 ratings
Never Let Go
1973
4.50 | 6 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
4.25 | 4 ratings
Flight Of The Snow Goose
1975
4.59 | 22 ratings
Another Night
1976
3.44 | 13 ratings
Highways of the Sun
1977
3.33 | 3 ratings
Breathless
1978
3.00 | 2 ratings
Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Some Exerpts From The New Camel Album
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
Remote Romance
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
Remote Romance (German Version)
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Camel In Concert No.250
1981
3.50 | 2 ratings
Lies
1981
3.00 | 2 ratings
No Easy Answer
1982
3.00 | 2 ratings
Selva
1982
2.00 | 1 ratings
Cloak And Dagger Man
1984
2.95 | 3 ratings
Long Goodbyes
1984
2.00 | 1 ratings
Berlin Occidental (West Berlin)
1984
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lies (Promo Single)
1984
4.00 | 3 ratings
Captured
1986
4.84 | 18 ratings
Never Let Go
2002

CAMEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Camel by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.95 | 1072 ratings

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Camel
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A little jazzy and proggy hard rock animal

Not often cited by fans, CAMEL's self-titled debut album offers an energetic jazzy rock, supported by Peter Bardens' colorful keyboards and Andy Latimer's inspired guitar play. As always, the sung parts remain rather discrete and the musician already focus on their strong points: the instrumental passages. Not as progressive as their next albums, the music is nonetheless quite lively and promising. As many other bands in the 70's, the compositions were tested and refined at concerts before being released in studio version.

The opener "Slow Yourself Down" is a catchy punchy jazz-rock in the style of SANTANA, including various cool soli. In contrast, "Mystic Queen" is my least favorite track of the record. It has pretty and melancholic moments I find it overall a bit boring and lengthy. Back to jazz-rock with the instrumental "Six Ate". Driven by keyboards, it features a few cool rhythm changes. Surprising, the galloping heroic "Separation" is hard rock oriented, sometimes even sounding like early 70's metal! Great!

More melodic, "Never Let Go" announces the style that CAMEL will develop in their next album, "Mirage". A melancholic tune, with jazzy and enchanting variations, supported by Peter Bardens' mellotron. "Curiosity" is an evolving but a little uneven song, enjoyable though. The closer "Arubaluba" is the other instrumental track of the disc. Dynamic and powerful, it simply rocks!

CAMEL's self-titled debut album has lots to offer and already unveils the band's potential, especially for composition and instrumental parts. Unfortunately, the musicians won't earn the success they deserve with this release, maybe due the lack of originality of their music at the time and of a charismatic frontman. Nonetheless, it still remains a lively and inspired opus, as well as a good entry point to the band for hard rockers.

CAMEL's rockiest effort, and one of their best albums. A promising and talented animal, recommended to jazzy rock and SANTANA fans!

 The Snow Goose by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.28 | 1899 ratings

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The Snow Goose
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Camel goes classical and instrumental

3.5 stars

After their second (majestic) studio opus, CAMEL understood that the sung parts and lyrics weren't their strongest points, existing only sporadically to make songs. The musicians were more at ease during the instrumental parts. Furthermore, the band was lacking a genuine charismatic frontman. For these reasons, they decided to compose a fully instrumental record, based on Paul Gallico's story "The Snow Goose". However, the author brought a lawsuit against them, due to copyright infringement, and CAMEL therefore renamed their new album "Music inspired by The Snow Goose".

Thought as a single 43 minutes piece, this third opus was recorded with The London Symphony Orchestra. The instrumentation and orchestration are much more ambitious than before: guitars, keyboards, percussions, wind instruments, violin... Peter Bardens' synthesizers become more and more present, although they sometimes quite strange. It also incorporates a few female vocalizations. Musically speaking, the disc is more melodic than the band's previous efforts, but, in return, offers less room to develop long guitar or keyboard soli, as the tracks have a short or normal duration. Less jazz / rock than before, "Music inspired by The Snow Goose" is more about merging symphonic rock with classical music.

The first half of the album is charming. After the mysterious and calm introduction "The Great Marsh", begins "Rhayader". Dominated by the flute, this tune is lively, catchy, and even a little jazzy. The best passage of the record is nonetheless the enchanting "Rhayader Goes To Town". Alternating soft and heroic moments with floydian guitar interventions, this track rocks! Then come the sweet and melancholic "Sanctuary", the delicate and pretty "Fritha", whereas the title track is simply beautiful and touching. Driven by wind instruments such as clarinet, oboe, bassoon and flute, "Friendship" is pretty much is in the style of SERGEI PROKOFIEV's "Peter and the Wolf". The dynamic "Migration" includes wordless vocals.

The second half is unfortunately a bit more uneven. Although "Rhayader Alone" is quite convincing with its guitar and Fender Rhodes piano, "Flight Of The Snow Goose" contrasts by incorporating an electronic sequence. Average, and a little out of place. The threatening "Preparation" sounds futuristic but also bizarre, I think it could should have been shortened. The first part "Dunkirk" is too repetitive and lengthy. Thankfully, the second part is more epic and nervous. "Epitaph" reuses the theme from "Preparation", whereas the piano dominated "Fritha Alone" is more interesting, displaying a slight ethereal atmosphere. "La Princesse Perdue" uses a few cheesy synthesizers but however some nice moments too. Curiously, the short closer "The Great Marsh" concludes the disc on an haunting note.

"Music inspired by The Snow Goose" is the release CAMEL is the best known for, due to its instrumental approach and the successful concert at the Royal Albert Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1975. It contains some flaws and weaker passages though, such as the dated keyboards sounds, but remains one of the few fully instrumental good studio albums of the 70's - except the electronic ones. More electronic and less jazzy, the desert animal is still inspired, his music is enchanting and will transport you to a land of fantasy.

Unique in the band's career, the musicians won't renew this stylistic exercise in the future. The first half of the seventies was maybe the only time period such a lyric-less record could earn success in the rock sphere. Anyway, one of CAMEL's best albums, recommended to symphonic prog fans!

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.39 | 2175 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An hallucination? No, a real symphonic prog oasis!

4.5 stars

Second studio album by CAMEL, "Mirage" truly marks the band's entrance into the progressive sphere. Compared to their debut, the compositions are a bit longer and more complex. If the musical style - mainly instrumental symphonic SANTANA-esque hard rock - hasn't changed much, the music is now more melodic and sometimes slow down to offer softer and breathtaking moments. Furthermore, the Minimoog made its first appearance and will become more and more present in the next records. Finally, the sound quality has also improved.

One word on the cover art: as you probably see, it parodies the Camel cigarettes pack, which initially helped the band to become famous. However, it also made then bad publicity, as people thought the musicians were advertising for the well-known smoking brand. Let's now begin our journey.

"Freefall" is a punchy and catchy opener, in the slight jazzy hard rock style of the first opus. In contrast, despite to what its title may suggest, "Supertwister" is delicate and enchanting. A nice invitation to travel to a mysterious land. In addition, Andrew Latimer's flute playing is pretty good. Then comes the best track of the disc, the Lords of the Ring-inspired "Nimrodel / The Procession / White Rider" suite. After a short aquatic overture, you know with the fanfare horns you're in for something special. The next part opens with an aerial majestic music, a genuine little melodic gem! Then, the song alternates alternates violent, calm and even spacey passages with numerous pace changes and various instruments. The haunting ending is also beautiful. Magic!

I do not really enjoy the beginning of the instrumental "Earthrise", but the rest is overall quite good. Despite dated synthesizer sonorities, it contains great soft and fast epic rock moments. The closer "Lady Fantasy" may well be CAMEL's longest composition to date. The track can remind THE DOORS at times, mainly due to the organ interventions. Both gentle and rageous, rock and jazzy, calm and touching, it displays the band's talent and is one of their best mini-epic. The dark ending simply rocks!

Although this album is classified under the "symphonic progressive" genre, The music here isn't at all like YES or GENESIS. Nonetheless, it still transports you to an imaginary world of fantasy, and that's the most important. The record has an overall constant quality, even if there are a few short passages I enjoy less.

With a better unity and musicianship than their self-titled debut, "Mirage" possesses its own identity and magic. Top-notch and accessible jazzy symphonic rock, and undoubtedly CAMEL's summit! A treasure in the desert...

 Camel On The Road 1972 by CAMEL album cover Live, 1992
3.64 | 99 ratings

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Camel On The Road 1972
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review N 67

Camel was formed in 1971 when the former band members of a band called The Brew, Andrew Latimer, Andy Ward and Doug Ferguson recruited another member Peter Bardens. After an initial presentation to a meeting under the name On, they changed their name to Camel and performed in the 4th of December, of the same year, their first live presentation at Waltham Forest Technical College, in London. And so, it was born and emerged a band that would become as one of the best and most influential progressive rock bands in the world, even in our days.

'Camel On The Road 1972' is chronologically the third live album of Camel and despite have been recorded in 1972, it was only released twenty years later in 1992. The most curious and interesting fact with this live album is due to the date of the recordings of the album. In reality, this is truly the debut record of the group. In fact, their debut studio album, their eponymous 'Camel', was recorded only one year later of the recordings of this one, in 1973.The line up of this live album is Andrew Latimer (vocals and guitar), Peter Bardens (vocals and keyboards), Doug Ferguson (vocals and bass) and Andy Ward (drums). This is the original and classic line up of the band who performed in their four first studio albums, which are in general considered their best studio albums, and which is also considered the best line up of the group, ever.

'Camel On The Road 1972' contains only four songs and we can say that it's a kind of a live mini EP. As Camel mentioned on the sleeve notes of the album, this live album is an official bootleg. The first track 'Lady Fantasy' was written by Camel and is a live version of the song originally released on their second studio album 'Mirage'. The second track 'Six Ate' was written by Latimer and is a live version of the song originally released on their eponymous debut studio album 'Camel'. The third track 'White Rider' was also written by Latimer and is a live version of the song originally released also on their second studio album 'Mirage'. The fourth and last track 'God Of Light Revisited' was written by Bardens and was never released on any studio album of the band, despite being regularly incorporated into many of their live shows, mainly during this first musical period of Camel. This song was originally released on the debut solo studio album of Bardens, 'The Answer', released in 1970, with the name of "Homage To The God Of Light'.

It's interesting to note and it's also very curious that 'Lady Fantasy' and 'White Rider' weren't released on their debut studio album, 'Camel', like 'Six Ate' was, but only on their second studio album 'Mirage' released only two years later, in 1974. Once more we can also see the careful and perfect balance between the two main writers of the songs on Camel, at the time. There is a song of the band, a song of Bardens and despite that there are two songs of Latimer, the duration of them are approximately equal to those of Bardens.

About the live performance of the songs, what I can say is that 'Lady Fantasy' and 'White Rider', are two fantastic songs which have contributed to 'Mirage' be one of the best studio albums of the band. They're two of my favourite songs of Camel, too. Both songs are excellently performed live. The sound isn't perfect of course, but it's really great, for a bootleg album. 'Six Ate' is also a good song but is inferior to the other two songs, to my taste. However, the live performance is a typical live track of Camel and is also excellent. 'God Of Light Revisited' is an instrumental song more psychedelic and experimental that goes very well when performed live. This is a great piece of music performed live, superiorly. It's a pure psychedelic and experimental improvised version that sounds really great. My first contact with this song was in my version of their debut album 'Camel', as a bonus track. The live version, on that album, was recorded live at the famous and mythical Marquee Club at 29th October 1974 and was previously unreleased.

Conclusion: As I said before, 'Camel On The Road 1972' is a short live album with only four songs. Anyway, 'Camel On The Road 1972' is a very good live album, with very inspired live performances of the original studio songs. However, don't be fooled by the minimalistic cover and date of the show. This is really a quality recording of the band on their very first tour together. I like very much the energy and vibe all over the album. It's true that the sound quality of the album isn't perfect, but after the digital treatment made on it, it's quite acceptable. And we can't also forget that this is a bootleg album recorded in 1972. Of course we can't say that it's an essential release, but you will not regret if you buy it. Again, the fidelity and the overall quality are quite good. So, I've no hesitation in saying that this is an excellent addition to any progressive collection, especially if you are a hard fan of the band, as I am. This is a very special live album of Camel and is a real live testimony that shows how great this band was when they performed live.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Camel by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.95 | 1072 ratings

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Camel
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review N 63

This is my fifth review of a Camel's album. The others are their second, third and fourth studio albums 'Mirage', 'The Snow Goose' and 'Moonmadness' which were released in 1974, 1975 and 1976 respectively, and their debut live album 'A Live Record' released in 1978. In 1972 the band signed with MCA Records and the result of it was this musical work 'Camel', their eponymous debut studio album which was released in 1973.

'Camel' has seven tracks. The first track 'Slow Yourself Down' written by Andrew Latimer and Andy Ward is a great song to open the album and represents, to my taste, the third best song on the album. This song features great organ work by Peter Bardens and is very well accompanied with a relaxed vocal work. A great rhythm section was also created by Doug Fergusson and Ward. The second track 'Mystic Queen' written by Bardens represents, for me, the second best track on the album. The song is absolutely sublime and is one of the two highest points of the album. It represents another great song with a good organ work by Bardens, perfectly accompanied with a tasteful Latimer's guitar solo. It has also a great performance on the drums by Ward. The third track 'Six Ate' written by Latimer is, in my humble opinion, the weakest point of the album. But, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that it's a bad song. What I'm saying is that the song can be, sometimes, a little bit repetitive and represents the lower point on the album. The fourth track 'Separation' written also by Latimer is the shortest song on the album. It's a very good song with some slow parts and with a very powerful and superb ending. This is another great song. The fifth track 'Never Let Go' is another Latimer's song and that eventually gave its name to a live album of the band. It's also one of the lengthiest tracks on the album. It's my favourite song on the album and one of my favourite songs from the group. It's a wonderful piece of music with the only appearance of Bardens on vocals. He gave an amazing keyboard solo very well accompanied by a marvellous Latimer's flute work, too. The sixth track 'Curiosity' written by Bardens is a song with a strong bass line featured by Ferguson. This is a typical Camel's track with a good writing composition. It's also another very good song, in the same line of the rest of the musical material found in here. The seventh track 'Arubaluba' also written by Bardens is the closing song on the album. It's an instrumental track that represents the lengthiest song on the album. This is one of the best songs on the album, and in my point of view, it's in the fourth place. It's a very strong track with great guitar performances, an interesting organ work and a good complementary job made by Fergusson and Ward.

My CD version has also two bonus tracks. As I usually say, I don't review bonus tracks mainly because of two reasons. First, bonus tracks don't make part of the original album and so, they shouldn't influence the album's review. Second, unfortunately in the most of the cases, the bonus tracks don't have good quality and are added without much criterion. Luckily, this isn't the case. Despite the first bonus track 'Never Let Go' not bring anything new to the album, because is simply a shorter single version of the original track, with the second bonus track we can't say the same. 'Homage To The God Of Light' is a 19 minutes live version of an original track written by Bardens, which was originally recorded on his solo studio album 'The Answer' released in 1970. This is really a great piece of music performed live superiorly. The track is full of free musical improvisations by all the band's members with extended psychedelic improvisation sounds and where all the musicians show their musical competence. This track was recorded live at the famous and mythical Marquee Club at 29th October 1974, and was previously unreleased. Unfortunately, it's shocking to think that this live version of 'Homage To The God Of Light' was hidden for so many years. I'm perfectly convinced that if this track has been released on the original album, it might be considered a truly masterpiece.

Conclusion: 'Camel' is a great debut album from the band. In my humble opinion, it has two tracks that deserve to be rated with 5 stars 'Mystic Queen' and 'Never Let Go', four tracks that deserve 4 stars 'Slow Yourself Down', 'Separation', 'Curiosity' and 'Arubaluba' and one track that deserve only 3 stars 'Six Ate'. So, the final average of this album is between 4 and 4,5 stars. So, I decided to rate it with 4 stars. Sincerely, I think that it missed very few to it to can achieve the status of a masterpiece, which fortunately would happen, with their three following studio albums. This is really a great starting point if you want to listen to Camel as a newbie. This is an album very catchy and easy to get into, especially for the beginners. It's an amazing musical work, especially as a first album of any band. Don't get be repelled by the fact that it isn't very known and popular, compared with some of their other studio albums. This is a great album, probably the most simple, pure and naive of all their studio albums. Sincerely, I deeply recommend it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.39 | 2175 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle

5 stars This would probably be my 1# progressive rock album! I think no words can describe this masterpiece. "Mirage" is a work of four outstanding instrumentalists. A true piece of art and a classic prog album!

Camel did not achieve a great succes after their self-titled debut. It's hard to say that it influenced their sound because what they created on this album is something that just happens once, something that is not a shift from anything else. I don't know, maybe stars were alined in a particular way and that created some sort of increased creativity for these four young lads, I don't know really. What I know is that "Mirage" is a complete, unrepeatable collection of something more than songs. Epics... if you will! Nobody has ever created such a moody listening expirience!

"Freefall" is a great a album opener, perfectly placed. It features Peter Bardens' beautiful vocal colour. Andy Latimer's guitar playing is out of this world. Keys, guitar and a groovin' rhythm section all pair up, creating a fantastic piece about... Well, a state in life - Freefall! Band shows off their jazz abilities with a swing part with a progression sort of in style of Soft Machine.

"Supertwister" showcases Latimer's flute abilities in an unusual time signature scenario. A really enjoyable tune, placed perfectly after a very mature and intelectual sounding rock-out on "Freefall"

"Nimnrodel/White Rider/Procession" is a three-movemental suite, lyrically based on Tolkien's Lord Of the Rings. This is in my opinion one of the most beautiful tracks in the history of prog rock with Andy Latimer's deep, bassy voice, creamy guitar tone and a wide plethora of Pete Bardens' keyboard sounds. The song ends with a very Floydian jam, with Andy Latimer making use of his slide guitar playing.

"Earthrise" is a pleasant piece with a very catchy theme of a Moog synthesizer paired with Andy Latimer's guitar. Than, we can hear a beautiful, screaming guitar and a springy sounding Moog solo on a very fast jazzy jam. A pleasant, enjoyable tune.

"Lady Fantasy" is what some (including me) consider an ultimate rock suite. It has three movements, all with different flows. A true masterpiece with beautiful, lush and smooth sounding keyboards and breathtaking guitar solos. It is a very relaxing one. The lyrics tell the story of "A lady we all see, but never can hold" - Lady Fantasy. This ends the album, with the listener completely overwhelmed with what he or she has just expirienced.

"Mirage" is a true work of art. One of the best progressive rock albums in the history. "Highly recommended" is a brutal understatement, so I'll just leave you here with your own choice.

Also, if I didn't mention, I quite like this album :)

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.39 | 2175 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review N 55

Sincerely, I always considered that Camel is an underrated progressive band among the greatest bands of the 70's. Probably it was mainly due to the Andrew Latimer's voice. Latimer is the main vocalist of the band despite that is true that he never was a true vocalist and that he has a very strong and deep voice. Still, Latimer always knew it, and because of that, many of Camel's songs are mainly instrumentals. This was one of the things that made of Camel a truly unique band in the progressive rock scene. On the other hand, he was never considered one of the greatest guitarists of the 70's, which is, in my humble opinion, very unfair. Probably, he isn't one of the most virtuous guitarists, but he is, for sure, a guitarist who knows very well how to create a unique and unmistakable sound with his guitar. His guitar style is still appreciated by many other guitarists, even in our days, like Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth.

And now, a curious story about Camel and "Mirage". Camel was involved in some controversy with the American brand of Camel cigarettes. We can clearly see the similarities between the album cover of "Mirage" and a pack of Camel cigarettes. As the peak period of the advertisement of the brand cigarettes, that had a picture of a camel smoking, coincided with the peak period of the release of "Mirage", the album was boycotted by some anti- smokers.

"Mirage" is the Camel's second studio album and was released in 1974. It became as one of the group's most acclaimed albums. "Mirage" is probably the album that best illustrates the main features of the band, already mentioned by me above, which are undoubtedly, quality, simplicity and beauty. This is the album where Camel begins to develop their own distinctive sound with some intricate rhythms and the wonderful and unpredictable instrumental exchanges made by the two mainly songwriters of the band Latimer and Peter Bardens.

"Mirage" has five tracks. The first track "Freefall" written by Bardens is almost an instrumental song largely dominated by the Latimer's guitar and with nice musical moments performed by Bardens' keyboards, very well supported by an inventive bass and a dynamic drumming work. This song is influenced by diverse styles of music and the melody is excellent. The second track "Supertwister", also written by Bardens, is the nice and most peaceful song on the album. It's a great instrumental track partially dominated by a great flute work of Latimer. With this song, Latimer proved that he is a great flute player too. The third track "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider" written by Latimer is one of the two multi-part epic songs on the album. This song is based on the book "The Lord Of The Rings" written by J. R. R. Tolkien. This is one of the best songs on the album with its frequent time changes and musical soundscapes, which carries the theme to an exceptional symphonic climax by the band. The fourth track "Earthrise" written by Latimer and Bardens is a very nice instrumental track with a frenetic middle section with Latimer's guitar and Bardens' keyboards. It's the second instrumental track of the album and it's probably one of the best and finest instrumentals ever made by them. The fifth track "Lady Fantasy" is divided into three parts: "Encounter", "Smiles For You" and "Lady Fantasy". It's the only track written by all band members and represents the other multi-part epic song of the album. Usually, this is the most celebrated song on this album and one of the most famous songs released by Camel. This track contains one of the most progressive songs made by them and is a very good example why Camel is one of the best and most respected bands in the progressive rock universe. Here we can clearly see how Camel has influenced Akerfeldt.

Conclusion: In my humble opinion, "Mirage" is with "The Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" the three greatest masterpieces from the group. But, despite I choose in the first place "Moonmadness" followed by "The Snow Goose", I consider "Mirage" the most simple, pure, nave and unpretentious of all Camel's studio albums. It might be even its best work. Every moment of every song on "Mirage" is to be treasured and every musical note is perfectly placed. The album is composed of two epics, but the seamless track flow, unifying theme, and harmonious sound, all make the album feel like a real masterpiece. The album showcases an uncanny ability for melody, in which the songs with no lyrics or words to them will have you creating stories in your own mind to fit the real mood. "Mirage" is an essential progressive rock classic album. With also the releases of "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" of Genesis, "Relayer" of Yes, "Red" of King Crimson and "The Power And The Glory" of Gentle Giant, only to mention some of the most important progressive musical releases in 1974, this was undoubtedly an amazing year for the progressive rock music. With "Mirage", Camel becomes one of the greatest and most respected progressive rock groups. If you really like of good progressive music and you don't have this album yet, do yourself a favour and get "Mirage" as soon as possible.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 A Live Record by CAMEL album cover Live, 1978
4.31 | 342 ratings

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A Live Record
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review N 47

'A Live Record' is the debut live album of Camel and was released in 1978. It was originally released as a double vinyl disk with recordings taken from three different live tours of the group.

The first disk, features recordings taken from their second studio album 'Mirage' released in 1974, when they toured the album and from their fifth studio album 'Rain Dances' released in 1977 when they toured this album too. The first track 'Never Let Go' originally recorded on Camel in 1973 and the second track 'Song Within A Song' originally recorded on 'Moonmadness' in 1976, were recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, in October 1977 and were taken from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The third track 'Lunar Sea' also originally recorded on 'Moonmadness' was recorded at the Colston Hall, Bristol in October 1977 and was also taken from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The fourth track 'Skylines' originally recorded on 'Rain Dances' in 1977 was recorded at Leeds University, Leeds, also in October 1977, and was also taken from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The fifth track 'Ligging At Louis' is a live version of an instrumental song originally composed by Peter Bardens but unreleased on any Camel's studio album and the sixth track 'Lady Fantasy: Encounter/Smiles For You/Lady Fantasy' originally a song recorded on 'Mirage' in 1974, were recorded at the Marquee Club, London in 1974. The second disk is devoted to a complete live performance of the band's instrumental conceptual album 'The Snow Goose' released in 1975, during the live tour of the album made in 1975 and was performed with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The line up of Camel on this live album is Andrew Latimer (lead vocals, guitars and flutes), Peter Bardens (keyboards), Doug Fergusson (bass), Andy Ward (drums and percussion), Mel Collins (saxophones and flute) and Richard Sinclair (vocals and bass). Sinclair, an ex-member of Caravan, replaced Doug Fergusson who was the original bassist and founding member of the band that left Camel in the early of 1977, after the release of the band's fourth studio album, 'Moonmadness'. Collins joined the group at the same time of Sinclair and both participated on the Camel's fifth studio album 'Rain Dances' as band members. Given the recording sessions correspond to different years in different stages, between 1974 and 1977, and the group had two different bass players, Sinclair plays on tracks one, two, three and four of the first CD and Fergusson plays on tracks five and six of the same CD and throughout all the second CD. Collins plays on the same tracks that Sinclair plays, namely on tracks one, two, three and four of the first CD.

About the performance, the album opens with 'Never Let Go' that sounds completely different from the original version from their debut. This one is a lot jazzier and is probably how it would have sounded if it had been written and recorded to 'Rain Dances'. Definitely interesting, it's no substitute for the superior original. 'Song Within a Song' and 'Lunar Sea' are performed very similar to the studio versions, despite the inclusion of Collins. 'Ligging At Louis' is a good jam despite wasn't be found on any of their other albums. 'Lady Fantasy' sounds, in my opinion and unfortunately, rather tame and a bit uninspired compared to the much more powerful studio version. However, it remains a great version. Then we go a few years back in time to hear the band perform the then brand new 'The Snow Goose'. It's overall a good performance with a few interesting differences from the original, such as the additional solo on 'Migration' and the theme on 'Flight Of The Snow Goose' being played on organ instead of synthesizer.

Conclusion: This Camel live album certainly shows the band's strength on stage during the early years of the group. As I wrote before, it's not a recording of one single concert but a selection from several. It was released shortly after the launch of 'Rain Dances' and the record label didn't wish interfere with the studio album sales. So, they reduced the number of tracks to be included from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The second CD is 'The Snow Goose' performed entirely with the backing of The London Symphonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. And what a fabulous rendition it is. It just gives to the piece a whole new dimension sound. I must say that 'The Snow Goose' is one of my favourite albums of the group, and this live version is, in my humble opinion, even better than the version on the original studio album. 'A Live Record' is a brilliant live album, by one of the most brilliant bands of the 70's. It's one of the best live albums I've ever heard, and isn't less inferior to other great live albums from some other great bands, of the 70's. If you want to feel the power and the strength of Camel on live, you must get this album and I would certainly recommend it to everyone. This album would make a great starting point to anyone who wishes to listen to Camel for the first time. The production is warm and clear and it serves as a great representation of their classic early musical period.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Snow Goose by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.28 | 1899 ratings

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The Snow Goose
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

5 stars "Music inspired by The Snow Goose", Paul Gallico's book. That is how this album was presented in its cover. Maybe Gallico didn't want his most successful and famous book to be directly associated with some music composed by any Rock band. I don't know why this happened then. But maybe this musical association with his book could have helped him to sell even more books. Anyway, he died in 1976. I never have read none of his books, and it was only because the music of this album was inspired by his most successful and famous book that I knew about him. I also realized that other of his books was used (with his permission) to make a film, "The Poseidon's Adventure", in 1972. It was a very successful film, and I saw it, but I realized a lot of time later that that book was also written by him. Maybe he didn't trust Rock bands or he didn't like Rock music, or he thought that his most successful and famous book wasn't going to be treated with respect or that it was going to be associated with a bad musical project. In my opinion, this didn't happen.

This is an album without lyrics (due to Gallico's oposition), consisting only of instrumental music, apart from some wordless vocals in some parts of the album. With very good Progressive Music arrangements, influenced by Classical Music, and with some orchestral arrangements by David Bedford, which work very well, this album is a very enjoyable listening experience. It really works very well as a "musical narration". Very melodic. Some musical themes re-appear in some parts of the album. Maybe some of the synthesisers's sounds sound a bit dated now, but the arrangements are very good. Some of the best parts of this album are the songs titled as "Rhayader", "Rhayader Goes to Town" and "La Princesse Perdue".

A very good album from CAMEL, recorded and released fourty years ago, which deserves a five stars rating from me.

 Echoes by CAMEL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1993
3.46 | 49 ratings

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Echoes
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Ghost_of_Prog

3 stars The goal of any sort of greatest hit and compilations album is to introduce listeners to a band where they are simultaneously pleased with what is presented and are given a hunger to experience more. So does Echoes, this humble little compilation of a band that was swept up under larger contemporaries during their hey days, accomplish that task. Well, I now own multiple Camel albums, so.....

Spanning from their self-titled debut album to Dust and Dreams, this compilation features a wide range of song styles to wet the palette of anyone interested. Now Camel lacks the adventurous nature of King Crimson or Pink Floyd or the symphonic landscapes of Genesis and Yes, but carves its own little corner in the community with Andrew Latimer's deceptively simple yet emotional guitar playing combined with other talented musicians joining his side.

So what of the songs chosen? The classic Never Let Go with its beautiful, quiet opening transitioning into a symphonic-jazz rock song, gives newcomers a taste of what's to come. Other Camel greats such as Lady Fantasy, Lunar Sea, Echoes, Ice, and Sasquatch make an appearance to lure those willing or unwary to search deeper into their archives.

Of course this compilation is not without its problems. A general problem is that Camel never really had any "hits" (with the exception of the first song), so the choice of material is left up to the bias of the one doing the cherry-picking. For example, Rhayader (Goes to Town), are instrumental excerpts taken from their album, The Snow Goose, which sound out of place when not listened in their proper context. The situation is similar to the final two tracks on disc 2, which are from the concept album Dust and Dreams. In hindsight, while I wished songs like Arubaluba, Chord Change, Rain Dances, etc. made an appearance, the selection is generally very good. However, their selection from the album Stationary Traveller simply baffles me. The two songs chosen (Refugee and West Berlin) are styled after 80's pop, a style they swiftly abandoned. However, the two songs that represent Camel's style the best (the title track and Long Goodbyes) are absent. Two potential slots on the compilation wasted. Oh well, it did its job, since I wouldn't have known about those two tracks if I never listened and peeked around.

Three stars. A good entry into the band, but odd choices bump it down to three stars.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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